Meet Thakgalo Thibela, a 21-year old doctor.
At just 21, Thakgalo Thibela is currently the youngest female medical doctor in the country. She comes from a small town of Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, in a village called Violet Bank. Thibela started school at Farel Primary School where she was so smart that she got to skip Grade 7 and went straight to high school. She attended her high school at Lehlasedi high School where she also got to skip Grade 9. However, her dream of becoming a medical doctor almost came shutting down as her Grade 11 results were not satisfactory.
“I’ve always wanted to do medicine, since my days in pre-school. This dream almost got shattered when my Grade 11 results came back and they were nowhere near satisfactory and this pushed me to do my best in matric in order to get accepted to study medicine. I attended all the extra classes and studied throughout the night with my friends. This paid off though as I ended up with seven distinctions out of the eight subjects I was doing in matric,” said Thibela.
Already being used to being the youngest in every class she attended and in pursuit of her childhood dream, she got admitted to Wits University at the tender age of 16 and continued to work hard in a cutthroat field of study and her efforts earned her a Golden Key International membership.
When asked her about her struggles throughout the journey, Thibela said her biggest challenge was Self-esteem.
“The one thing I struggled a lot with was a low self-esteem. I used to be a really confident person until I got to university. I suddenly felt like I didn’t belong there. I was surrounded by people who went to all these fancy schools, who spoke proper English, and here I was, ngwana wa Bushbuckridge with my subpar English in the same class as these people, and I thought to myself, maybe you don’t deserve to be here. My self-esteem took another knock when one of my close friends laughed at me because of the way I speak (the way I pronounce words, my wording, etc), and this made me fear speaking in public, to the point where having to answer a question in a group of people was somewhat crippling”, she explained.
She indeed went far and beyond in defining the narrative “if you can dream it, you can achieve it”. Coming from a christian background, she returned all the glory back to The One above.
“I can confidently say that I would not have made it if it wasn’t for God. He saw me through from the day I stepped onto the university grounds till I exited” she added.
Dr Thibela is currently doing her internship at Helen Joseph hospital and intends on becoming a neurosurgeon in the near future